This summer I worked on the public safety wellness and resiliency summer impact project. Over the summer I learned how to conduct a research project under the supervision of mentors who have conducted studies on similar populations and topics. This project focused on analyzing the quality of life, movement capabilities, and fitness of police officers and firefighters in Prince William County.
Each week subjects came to the SMART lab for fitness assessments and movement screening. Before fitness testing subjects filled out questionnaires that assessed their quality of life. Functional movement tests were done to assess asymmetries and overall movement quality. Fitness tests were done for all 5 components, muscular endurance, muscular strength, body composition, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness. After each subject completed their fitness assessment, we created a custom fitness program for them based on their personal goals, current fitness level, injury history, and any other necessary considerations. After receiving their program, it was cool to see how excited they got and to hear about their plans.
Being able to give back to those who protect and serve us felt good and gave me a new perspective on police and firefighters. Over the summer I gained skills and experience running tests in the SMART lab that I would not have had access to without the project. Being able to gain an understanding of how to conduct a study from start to finish, and laboratory experience are benefits I will take with me to graduate school.